Building a California pool in Kentucky

kentuckypoolOctober 4, 2012

We moved to the Louisville area from Southern California a couple of years ago and are looking to bring some of that tropical Southern California feel in our pool build we are planning.

I have never owned a pool before but am considering the following:

Tropical free form pool with a separate spa, waterside, jumping rock and waterfall feature (maybe over a grotto?). We have an acre lot so space isn't an issue and have a nice slope I think to be able to accommodate the elevation change to make a waterside and waterfall work. I have a few questions (probably more than a few). Any help is appreciated.

1. Anyone know of PB in the area that do freeform gunite/shotcrete pools. Many here seem to be liner or fiberglass?

2. Considering installing a dolphin water slide built into the hillside rather than a concrete slide formed in the hillside as I have seen in California pools. Concerned that if someone doesn't build many slides getting the slope, pitch, finish right might be difficult. Anyone have experience with dolphin slides

3. Since I want both a deep end for water slide entry/jumping rock but also want to play volleyball, etc(we have 3 active teens and they have 50 active friends) I am consider a roughly L shape design with the shallow part if the pool roughly a rectangle 35' x 20' and 4-5' deep and then the L of the leg roughly 20'x20' going to 8' to 10' deep. Is this insane for a backyard pool. I haven't priced it yet but have a decent budget for the project

Any input would be appreciated


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Given the desired size desired, that eliminates a fiberglass shell. They aren't big enough.

There very few things you can't/shouldn't do with a liner pool that a gunite pool can do. If there aren't any gunite builders in the area, go with a liner. The tend to be, at least in my area, slightly less expensive too.

With a sloped area, expect to have to cut into the land and build a retaining wall and drainage. Those will eat into your budget. I would also be concerned with hitting rock. Bedrock and boulders will need to be jack hammered and that will cost too.

While a liner pool normally has 42" walls, the floor can be deeper. In fact, that is how the deep end hopper is designed. They use either smoothed cement or a vermiculite and portland cement mix to form the bottom and slopes that exceed the 42" depth.

That which is above ground, such a grotto, won't matter to any pool as long as the proper footing is laid to support the weight. Thermoplastic slides are pretty standard fair and can be pretty darn long if you want.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:02AM
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Please feel free to email me directly

I may be able to help you out.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Thanks poolguynj.

I don't know why but coming from Southern California it just seems like everyone had gunite pools and vinyl pools seemed somewhat inferior. Don't flame me vinyl pool owners! I think we want to talk to a few concrete guys here first to see if they can help us.

With regards to pool size and shape any feedback on the best shape and size of pool that allows both a slide entry, rock jumping end and allows for a decent water volleyball game?

Also with regards to upcoming winter is there a time of year when they would have to stop my pool until spring if we started this fall?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:39PM
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The last time I looked, when one jumps in a pool, they get wet and what holds the water is moot, everyone enjoys it. Liner pools are not inferior. Each type of pool has its pluses and minuses.

Just because southern California seems to have more gunite pools doesn't make it the the best choice for Kentucky. If there are builders for both types, its because there is a market for both.

As long its dry and above 50 degrees, you can build. Plastering needs warmer weather and Kentucky isn't part of the snow belt but it isn't an unheard of event. Brushing with cold water in the pool is no fun. Liners need at least 60 degree air to be set or the vinyl will be too stiff.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 4:30AM
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